20% of children in Northern Region underweight
Mr Leslie Vanderpuije, Deputy Director of Pharmaceutical Services in the Northern Region has indicated that 20 per cent of children below five in the Northern region are underweight due to multiple nutritional deprivations.
He said 33.1 per cent too were stunted, stressing that the area faces high rate of micro-nutrient deficiencies thus resulting in anaemia and Vitamin A deficiencies.
Mr Vanderpuije who was addressing an annual nutrition review meeting in Tamale this week, said the region is facing prolonged nutritional deficiencies and called on stakeholders to brainstorm on the issue for redress.
The review meeting which was attended by stakeholders in health was under the theme; “Harnessing multisectoral effort in reducing stunting in the Northern Region”.
Mr Vanderpuije said the percentage of households adequately consuming iodised salts remains the lowest at 15.8 per cent while the number of baby friendly facilities has stagnated since 2011.
He suggested the need for the sustaining of on-going training to improve health workers’ skills and knowledge and said improving utilization of selected community based health and nutrition services for children will help.
He said there was also the need to intensify efforts in anaemia control in pregnant women, adolescents and pre-school children and that exploring ways to address staffing issues was paramount in addressing the situation.
Chief Alhassan Issahaku Amadu, Northern Regional Director of The Population Council said chronic malnutrition was the cause of stunting among children and urged parents to have smaller family sizes they could manage.
Alhaji Alhassan Issahaku said many children in the region face avoidable challenges which has negative implications on their intellectual capabilities.
He said malnutrition and stunting were as a result of poverty and low-income status of parents and appealed to stakeholders to galvanise efforts at achieving the zero hunger targets.